Archive for April, 2013

“Kissed by Fire” Round-Up: Oaths, Obligations and a Trial by Combat

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

“Valar dohaeris,” the Valyrian expression, translates to “all men must serve.” It’s this sense of duty that looms over “Kissed by Fire,” with kings and commoners alike examining their obligations.

First, there are those who betrayed their oaths. Weary of his “Kingslayer” nickname, Jaime Lannister reveals the whole story to Brienne. In an interview with, Executive Story Editor and episode writer Bryan Cogman explains the significance of Jaime’s confession: It’sthe first time he’s told ANYONE what really happened during the sack of King’s Landing—that includes Tyrion and Cersei.” Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne, shares how Jaime’s revelation resonates with her character in HBO GO’s Interactive Features. Now that Brienne sees the honor in Jaime, she considers them “kindred spirits.”

King in the North Robb Stark has found a confidante in Talisa but their union meant breaking a promise the Starks made to Walder Frey. Executive Producer David Benioff calls Robb’s marriage his biggest strategic mistake in this week’s Inside the Episode. The King in the Narrow Sea fares no better; Stannis Baratheon’s broken marriage vows only resulted in guilt.

In Tywin Lannister’s opinion, family and strategy are entwined. Case in point, he uses Tyrion and Cersei as pawns to secure the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne. James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly points out, “as much of an emotionally abusive father Tywin Lannister is, if he ran a corporation, who wouldn’t want to invest?”

For the Brotherhood Without Banners, questions of duty and morality are decided by the Lord of Light—including the Hound’s fate. For a behind-the-scenes look at his fiery trial by combat, check out the video below, which was featured in HBO GO’s Interactive Features:


Arya’s reactions to the trial struck a chord with viewers. Her scenes where the “most powerful of all,” according to Rolling Stone’s Sean T. Collins. “Every line seemed like a cruise missile aimed at your heart.” That includes Arya’s discussion with Beric Dondarrion. Time’s James Poniewozik sums it up: “Who would have thought that ‘Could you bring back a man without a head?’ could be such a touching line?”

“Valar dohaeris” is traditionally the reply to “Valar morghulis,” which means “all men must die,” but as Lord Beric’s scars prove, things are seldom so black and white in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Who did you find most and least honorable in this episode? Share your thoughts below. 

Bryan Cogman Has His Own Dark Dreams, Wouldn’t Want to Warg

Friday, April 26th, 2013

This season’s fifth episode, “Kissed by Fire,” was penned by Executive Story Editor and writer Bryan Cogman. Wondering why things happen when they do in the season? In an interview with, Cogman explains how scenes are mapped out, his take on Jaime’s turning point, and who he thinks is the richest family in Westeros.  Photo: Riley Stearns

How did you come to tackle Episode 305? Are there any benefits or drawbacks to writing the midseason episode?

Well, the benefit was certainly that, at this point in the season, the storylines are really cooking and I had several juicy scenes to play with. And, of course, it’s ‘Game of Thrones,’ so we’re still introducing new characters (Selyse & Shireen Baratheon) so it had a little bit of everything. I suppose the biggest challenge was that I was writing it without having the benefit of seeing 303 or 304 (I think I had seen drafts of 301 and 302) so it’s kind of difficult building on arcs that haven’t been written yet, but we even all that out in the revision process.

Continue to to read the full interview with Bryan Cogman.

How Daenerys Unleashed Dragonfire

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Still reeling from Dany’s big moment Sunday night? Maybe you have a few spears, a flamethrower and an army of slave soldiers you want to put to use to recreate the scene? Here’s the storyboard featured in this week’s Interactive Features on HBO Go.  

Still hungry for details? Here are some handy phrases in High Valyrian to put a merciless slave master in his place.

“Zaldrizes buzdari iksos daor.” – A dragon is not a slave. 
“Ydra ji Valyre?” – You speak Valyrian?
“Vayrio muño engos ñuhys issa.” – Valyrian is my mother tongue.

"And Now His Watch Is Ended" Round-Up: “Lady Power” and the Fires of Revenge

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

This week on Game of Thrones, the spirit of revenge hovers in the air like an angry dragon. The episode begins with Varys prying open a crate to reveal the captured sorcerer who cut him and ends with Daenerys unleashing her power in a scene that solidifies her claim to the Iron Throne. In an interview for HBO GO’s interactive features, actress Emilia Clarke explains that by trusting her instincts, Dany exceeds all expectations, including her own. Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss agree, calling the mother of dragons a “major force to be reckoned with” in this week’s Inside the Episode. Going a step further, the Hollywood Reporter declares Dany’s vengeance on the slavers of Astapor to be the biggest game-changer since Ned Stark’s death. The scene’s stunning visual effects also wowed audiences. Benioff spoke to Entertainment Weekly about creating the powerful display; it was that moment from the books that compelled him to make the show.   

Dany wasn’t the only woman to assert her influence last night. As Slate’s Rachael Larimore points out, although Cersei and Lady Olenna commiserate about their subservient positions, “There was a lot of lady power on display.” Kate Aurthur supports that position, in typical Buzzfeed fashion, with “9 Ways Game of Thrones Is Actually Feminist.” This theme rings true as women are seen motivating men throughout the episode; Ros nudges Varys to thwart Littlefinger; Margaery coaxes Joffrey to face his constituency; and Brienne pushes Jaime to survive.

And then there are the men who have sworn off women. Lord Commander Mormont meets a tragic end, stabbed in the back by his own men. Actor James Cosmo spoke to Access Hollywood about Mormont’s untimely demise and his character’s influence on Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly, saying, “The traits in his character [are] something that they will hopefully try to emulate as they grow into adulthood and become leaders in their own right.” The Guardian asserts that the scene reinforces one of Game of Thrones’ strengths, “the way it refuses to flinch from the realities of war.”

Were you surprised by the brutality of the Night’s Watch? What do you think this means for Jon Snow? And the biggest question of the night—what was your reaction to Dany’s revenge?